Seeds of South Australia
Calochilus robertsonii (Orchidaceae)
Purplish Beard-orchid
List of species for Calochilus
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Seed collecting:
February to April
Herbarium regions:
Murray, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
NRM regions:
Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Kangaroo Island, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
IBRA regions
Mount Gambier (SVP02)Southern Volcanic Plain
 Endangered   (IUCN: EN B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)
Glenelg Plain (NCP02)Naracoorte Coastal Plain
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)
Lucindale (NCP03) 
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)
Kangaroo Island (KAN01)Kanmantoo
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU D2)
Fleurieu (KAN02) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   (Probable Decline)   [swamp sp; climate change, weeds - threats]
Mount Lofty Ranges (FLB01)Flinders Lofty Block
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)   [Some records include C platychilus; swamp sp]
Broughton (FLB02) 
 Critically Endangered   (IUCN: CR D)   (Definite Decline)   [Less than 50 plants, recently discovered in Spring Gully CP]
Lowan Mallee (MDD04)Murray Darling Depression
 Endangered   (IUCN: EN B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Definite Decline)
RSCA map:
Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion. Please click the thumbnail map.
AVH map:
Australian distribution map (external link)
SA Census:
Census of South Australian plants (external link)     [genus Calochilus]
Name derivation:
Calochilus from the Greek 'callos' meaning beauty and 'cheilos' meaning lip, referring to the ornamented labellum of most species. Robertsonii named after John George Robertson (1807-1890), a 19th century collector for Kew.
Found on Kangaroo Island, southern Mount Lofty Ranges and the South-east in South Australia, growing singly or in small groups in open forest or around swamp margins. Also found in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.  
Native. Rare in South Australia. Rare in Queensland. Common in the other States.
Plant description:
Terrestrial orchid growing to 60 cm tall with up to 9 flowers on each stem. Flowers are green with reddish stripes, dorsal sepal, erect to 20 mm long. Labellum is very distinctive, covered with crowded purple calli at the base and long reddish purple glistening glandular hairs which become yellowish at its tip. Flowering between December and February.
Fruit type:
Brown papery ellipsoid capsule.
Seed type:
Very small brown ellipsoid seed with a long cylindrical translucent brown mesh-like covering.
Seed collecting:
Collect fat capsules as they start to dry and turn brown. Pods will split and release the seeds quickly and will require monitoring. To increase the chances of collecting mature pods, it is recommended that a small breathable bag (ie. Organza bags) be used to enclose the developing capsules.
Seed cleaning:
Place the capsules in a container that will hold fine seeds and leave to dry for a few weeks or until the capsule split. Then carefully hold the capsule and tap it gently to release the seeds. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place, refrigerator or in liquid nitrogen.
Seed viability:
For the NVC South East Orchid Project two populations consisting of more than forty individuals were recorded in the Bangham and Naracoorte area. A total of 1320,000 seeds (0.53 g) were banked from this population. Seed viability ranged from 78% to 87%.
Seed germination:
Seed germination in Calochilus species is difficult without compatible mycorrhizal fungi. More research is needed in order to understand the germination requirements in the genus Calochilus.